Friday, July 29, 2011

Navelgazing about aging

I recently had a birthday, which I may have mentioned before now, and while it didn't end in a 5 or 0, it's getting awfully close to one of those milestone zeroes. While it's just a number, and it's better than the alternative and whole bunch of other platitudes, it's getting awfully close to one of those big ones that ends with a zero. I'd be lying if I said I'd not been thinking about it and some of the implications.

With that as backstory, we were visiting with a friend, and Keith took lots and lots of pictures, as this friend has beehives, and I've loved bees since I was young. Having my own beehives is one of those fantasies I have, along with the organic farm where everything is perfect and I don't have to ever sweat.

I loaded the pictures onto the computer and found I couldn't look at them. It wasn't me in those pictures! It was my mother!

I've avoided cameras for much of my life. When I was young and thin, I tended to look goofy and gawky. There was a while in college and my young adult life when it seemed I took decent pictures and actually looked good in them, but in my 30's my weight started creeping up, peaking at another number I'd rather never mention, and I started some major camera avoidance. Yes, I later learned some of the weight was due to the hypothyroidism, but knowing that doesn't make me look any better.

Thus, I avoid cameras much as one would avoid the plague. I submitted, most unwillingly, to family photos when there was no way I could possibly escape them. Other than that, few pictures of me exist at this age.

Until now. There they were, a whole helluva lot of them, of me looking at bees. Well, it was supposed to be me, and it sort of looked like me, but the woman really looked like my mom! It was unsettling, to say the least. That's not the worst of it. Keith took so many of them with my back to the camera, which would be unflattering even to Kim Kardashian. Trust me on this.

This is a vanity that I'm pretty sure many other women have faced. We've all heard that saying about telling young men to check out how their future mother in law looks as that's how their wife will look one day. When we're young, we don't think that will ever happen. We know everything we'll ever need to know when we're young, and we know for sure that we'll never look like that. Middle aged and a little too well padded.

I'll never look like my 25 year old self again. I know that. That doesn't stop me from fooling myself by avoiding mirrors that I look younger than I am or wondering about plastic surgery in Brazil. I'd probably even bare my neck to a vampire if a bite could stop aging. (Yeah, there is that whole drinking human blood to survive, but I'll worry about that if I get bitten.)

What can I do about it? I can keep avoiding having my picture taken. That's an easy form of self delusion, and I've got some experience. I can get back to the gym, lifting weights, doing cardio and going to yoga. Exercise is a sort of fountain of youth. Not a very fun or easy one, but it does work.

And those pictures of my ass? One of them is going on the fridge so I have to look at it every time I reach in there at mealtime or for a snack.

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